x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Jay Reatard: Watch Me Fall

When the name Jay Lindsey is mentioned, punk inevitably comes to mind, but his new album offers a glimpse of a transformation the future may hold.

Jay Reatard.
Jay Reatard.

Although the Memphis resident Jay Lindsey is only 29 years old, he has spent nearly half of his life recording and releasing music. Through his various garage punk outfits The Reatards, Lost Sounds and his two solo collections, he has never been short of a rambunctious riff or sardonic quip. As well as his very own brand of jilted fuzz-pop, the prolific songwriter is known for his enthusiastic live performances, sometimes including bloody scuffles with crowd-members. Watch Me Fall presents a rather different mood, however. Whereas once his approach led to a refreshing mishmash of styles, this LP is surprisingly straight forward. It's Lindsey's tribute to the rough-and-ready pop-punk The Clean and Tall Dwarfs, members of the New Zealand label Flying Nun Records that have become the object of the songwriter's recent musical obsession. Unfortunately, however, Lindsey's new focus can sound annoyingly abrasive, particularly on the opener It Ain't Gonna Save Me. Further on, Can't Do It Anymore and Before I Was Caught both have some fun moments, but you might find yourself asking how a punk from Tennessee manages to sound so much like the Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes in his heyday. The album certainly has its moments, but there's nothing here to match the chameleonic punk of his debut solo outing Blood Visions. Perhaps the most interesting song on the album - and undoubtedly the most melodic - is closer There Is No Sun. The track offers a sentimentality and tunefulness that is as yet unprecedented from the songwriter and perhaps a glimpse of a future transformation.

* Oliver Good